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Whooping cough cases raising concerns at schools

(WBNG) —  12 News continues to learn more information about reported cases of whooping cough in Tioga County.

The Health Department issued a warning to parents Monday, and Tuesday we learned cases have been reported in the Owego Apalachin Central School District.

The district sent out an initial letter to parents last month saying, “a probable case of pertussis (whooping cough) has been reported at Owego Free Academy.”

Tuesday, the district issued a new notice saying, “confirmed cases of pertussis (whooping cough) have been reported in our district.”

It is unclear which schools in the district are now affected.

The Owego Apalachin Central School District was unavailable for an interview with 12 News Tuesday, but officials with the district say they are working with the county and state health departments to address the issue.

Meanwhile, the cases of the disease are raising concerns at other schools. Especially childcare centers, where young children are often in contact with each other, more so than older children.

“You really can’t stop that, you know. That’s part of their play, they’re learning how to play, they’re learning how to be sociable, it’s part of the environment that we’re here,” said Director of Abide in the Vine Childcare, Mark Hoover.

Abide in the Vine Childcare does not have any cases of whooping cough, but Hoover says hearing of it in the area is shocking.

“It’s actually kind of confusing so kids are vaccinated for this but I guess they can still get it, so it’s a little unnerving that you could get a vaccine that doesn’t work,” said Hoover.

He says precautions to keep students healthy are already in place.

“We have sanitizing solutions in the rooms, even more so if someone is chewing on something, we put that in the sanitizing solution and that’s done across the board all year long,” said Hoover.

But he and his staff are especially on the lookout this time of year.

“If they seem sick, if they’re coughing, things like that then we’re moving it up to the next step where we’re addressing that, calling the parents,” said Hoover. “I mean you’re talking about the wellness of your child and that’s extremely important. Anything that could affect that we have to strongly encourage parents to take care of their children. So if that means taking off of work, and coming and get your child and taking them to the doctor, that’s necessary.”

The Tioga County Health Department says symptoms of the disease can include rapid coughs with a high-pitched sound, vomiting during or after coughing fits, or exhaustion following coughing fits.

Related Link: Cases of Whooping Cough detected in Tioga County, health officials say

Annie Flaherty

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